The Society of Recorder Players’ 2014 commission, Quattuor Musicae for recorder ensemble, is now available online via the Society’s website. To access the right page, please go to: http://www.srp.org.uk/download-srp-commissioned-music/
The programme note for this work reads:
The recorder is an instrument of great versatility, yet also of extreme limitations. It cannot readily vary articulation or dynamics, yet it encompasses a range of instruments capable of the most magical sounds. Renaissance and baroque music suits the recorder so very well because it relies purely on the musical notes, rhythms and harmonies. There is no attempt to create effects and it is the music itself that makes it work or not.
This work, commissioned by the UK Society of Recorder Players, came with a brief: that it must be playable by musicians, be they amateur or professional, and there were strict limitations in terms of technical demands. This made it critical to create something that was utterly idiomatic while being manageable and musically satisfying. I turned to the Renaissance and Baroque models I have been brought up on as a keen baroque trumpeter. Orlando Gibbons’ ‘In Nomines’ are works I hold dear, and these became a starting point. Pavans and Galliards by Anthony Holborne are also pieces I remember with great fondness. Then there are those Baroque arias that often make movements within sonatas of great beauty. Finally, hockets are pieces that always grab my attention. These were my chosen subjects, and I set about composing modern day equivalents. But my language was still far too complicated, and the twisting chromatic lines had to be subdued. My music began to take on a lightness, and the comparative tonality pleased me.
This is a work that can and should be enjoyed by many. It acts as a bridge between a past and contemporary musical language, where each and every note counts and where lines depend on each other for completeness of intent and purpose.